USA Swimming has confirmed that the 2024 U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials will return to Indianapolis, Indiana, with the sport’s national governing body making the official announcement Tuesday morning.
The IndyStar first reported that the city was set to win the bid for Trials a few days ago.
— USA Swimming (@USASwimming) March 29, 2022
For the first time ever, the event will be staged on a football field, Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.
The Stadium Director of Lucas Oil Stadium is Eric Neuburger, who is the son of FINA Treasurer, former US Aquatic Sports President, and former USA Swimming President Dale Neuburger. Dale Neuburger pushed the Indianapolis bid on his personal social media accounts.
The last four Olympic Trials meets have been hosted at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, with Indianapolis last hosting the competition in 2000. In 2004, the meet took place in Long Beach, California.
“From day one, I truly believed that there was no bigger, more exciting, everything-on-the-line Olympic event in this country than the Swimming Trials and envisioned the heights that we could take it to,” USA Swimming President & CEO Tim Hinchey said.
“Given their track record, we are incredibly confident and excited in Indianapolis’ ability to conduct a technically flawless competition and to stage a world-class event. We are also proud of Indiana Sports Corp’s commitment to partnering with us in giving back to the local community and leaving a legacy far beyond our nine-day meet.”
2024 also marks the 100-year anniversary of Indianapolis hosting the U.S. Olympic Trials for the 1924 Olympic Games, which were also held in Paris (as they will be in two years).
“We are honored to be selected as host to the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming,” Indiana Sports Corp President Ryan Vaughn said. “The sports strategy in Indianapolis was built on a foundation of Olympic sports and we look forward to elevating the sport of swimming and Indy’s reputation as the city where champions are crowned through this event.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to engage our community beyond the competition venue and we look forward to providing a top-tier experience to all involved.”
Three temporary pools, two 50-meter and one 25-meter, will be installed over the field in Lucas Oil Stadium, a state-of-the-art multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue that hosted major events such as the Super Bowl, NCAA men’s basketball championship games, and the College Football Playoff National Championship.
USA Swimming’s Aqua Zone will be held at the Indiana Convention Center, which is connected to the stadium.
While a specific attendance capacity/target isn’t noted in USA Swimming’s press release, the IndyStar report indicated the bid would be to have space for 30,000 to 35,000 spectators. Lucas Oil Stadium is listed as having a seating capacity of up to 70,000, though as you can see in the photo above, part of the stadium seating will be blocked off for the warm-up area.
In Omaha, the CHI Health Center had a 14,500 seat venue, and in 2016, the meet sold out all 15 sessions.
Specific dates for the competition have yet to be confirmed as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has reportedly not yet locked in when the Olympic qualifying period will end.